Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spain - Folk Dances, La Sardana & La Jota 2009

The “Popular Dances” series issued throughout 2009 to widespread the rich folklore of our country is on this occasion devoted to the Sardana and the Jota.

La Sardana
The Sardana is the most representative dance of Catalonia. Its origins are said to be in ancient Greece and in the cult of the sun of old civilizations following a circular movement. It is danced by a group of men and women who join hands alternately in a closed circle. The basic pattern of the Sardana is a series of long and short steps; the precise combination is determined by the leader, who signals the steps with a hand squeeze that is passed around the circle to make music and footsteps coincide. There are two basic ways of interpreting the Sardana: the empurdanés, from the Ampurdán and the selvatá, from the region of the Selva (Gerona), the main difference between the two is the direction of the turn. The old style Sardana, known as curta (short) is made up of eight short and sixteen long compasses, the short ones bearing hardly any movement and the long ones more vivacious. The Sardana danced nowadays is the llarga, composed by José (Pep) Ventura and is longer than the curta. Music for the Sardana is played by a cobla, a band consisting of wind instruments, double bass and a tamborí (very small drum) the flabiol which is a small fipple flute, the tenora and tible The brass instruments include: two trumpets, two fiscorns, and a trombone. The social success of this dance lies in its nature, open to any passers by wishing to join in.

La Jota
The Jota is the most popular dance in Spanish folklore, spreading from North to South across the country. It is performed in pairs, with dancers facing each other and exchanging positions with small precise steps. The plucking of the feet requires great skill and liveliness which results in steps of great beauty. The classical structure begins with a chorus followed by a song of four verses referring to themes such as love, praise or the Virgen del Pilar. It is danced in Navarre, Castille, La Rioja and Galicia amongst others, the most popular being the jota aragonesa which reached its peak of maximum splendour in the XIX century. It has three different parts. The first part begins with a small group doing some introductory singing and the couple taking up their positions waiting for the proper song to begin; In the middle part the dancing takes place and the dancers are accompanied by castanets and drums and in the final part, dancers perform with vigorous and faster steps.


Signe said...

Fab blog :-)

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